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  Living safely with Crocodiles    

Kit coverAn Education Kit for Grades 5 - 7

Information Sheet A

living safely with crocs



A group of tourists watched in horror as a large croc killed his handler in a `death roll' at the Johnston River Croc Farm yesterday. The handler, who had two years experience with crocs, was inside the enclosure with the croc. While tourists looked on, he tapped the croc with a rake. The 4.1m croc grabbed the handler by the upper arm and dragged him into the water. The croc rolled, taking the man's head and upper arm into its jaws. The man would have died instantly.

One horrified tourist grabbed a pole and hit at the croc. Another grabbed hold of the victim's ankle and tried to pull him away. He said the croc was "just like a D7 bulldozer".

from Townsville Bulletin, 1994


On Tuesday evening last a terrible fate befell James Mason, aged 10 years. The father, Mr J E Mason of Stratford and his two bright healthy sons were bathing in the Barron River. They were in about 2 feet six of water. The sandy muddy spot was their favourite spot. They thought they were safe from crocs in the shallow water.

Suddenly came a splash. The mud was stirred up and the water lashed. The father's surprise turned to horror. He could not see his eldest boy, Jimmy. He threw the other child on the bank and dived where he had seen the splash. He found the boy and grasped his legs. Something more powerful was pulling the boy away. Then the father realised that a croc had taken his boy from his very side.

A few minutes later the croc rose to breathe in the middle of the river. In those fearful jaws was one leg of the unfortunate child.

from Cairns Post, 21 January, 1893.

Woman taken by croc

A woman was taken by a croc during a midnight swim in the Daintree River last night. Beryl Wruck, 43, disappeared without a sound as she splashed in the shallow creek. She and several other party-goers were cooling off after an evening of dancing and drinking.

"There was a huge swirl. I was pushed aside," said one of the swimmers who was standing next to Beryl. "Beryl went up in the air and over and then she was gone. There was no sound, no scream. It was so quick." The party-goers, all Daintree residents, knew that crocs had been seen in the creek. They thought they would be safe at low tide. The water was only 45cm deep.

Experts believe the attack was a typical crocodile ambush. Beryl, crouched down in the water, appeared to be a small prey for the 5m crocodile.

"I saw a long dark object with a scaley back rise to the surface of the water," said another swimmer. "She made no sound. There was no blood."

from Mossman Gazette, December, 1985

Croc attacks swimmer

A 35 year old man was lucky to be alive after he survived a croc attack at Yorkeys Beach on Friday night. Ron Bakx suffered deep puncture wounds to the head, back and shoulder in the attack. Mr Bakx, still in shock, said he could not remember seeing the croc.

"I'd been at a break-up party and we carried on down to the beach. I went for a dip to cool off," he said. He was in waist deep water when he dived and felt a sudden 'chomp'.

"I felt myself being dragged along. I reckon I was in his mouth a few seconds, " he said. "I started lashing out - it was all pretty quick. I remember thinking `I'm a goner', but then the croc had gone."

Mr Bakx has lived in the far north for 10 years and admits swimming at night was a stupid thing to do. "Its their territory. I was doing the wrong thing. Its just one of those things, I guess. No one really thinks it will happen to them."

from Cairns Post, January, 1997

Croc attacks girl in city

A 15 year old girl was mauled by a croc in Chinaman Creek, close to the Cairns city centre last night. The girl was at a `beer party' at a nearby camp. She went to the creek to swim when the 3m croc grabbed her leg. She was dragged underwater for several minutes. Then she caught hold of an overhead mangrove branch.

Two friends heard screams and raced to help. One young man climbed onto the branch and pulled her up by her hair. He passed her to the other man who had waded into the creek up to his chest. The croc still had the girl's legs in it's jaws. The man then had a `tug of war' with the croc as it tried to pull the girl under the water.

The other man yelled and splashed to distract the croc. The bleeding girl was finally hauled from the water. Police praised the men for their bravery. They said the attack highlighted the danger of swimming in or hanging around croc habitats. Foodscraps from the camp are believed to have attracted the croc to the area.

from Cairns Post, 7 February, 1998

Crocs shot in Daintree

People have been shooting and baiting crocs in the Daintree River since Beryl Wruck disappeared, last December. "Dead crocs have been found in the river. Irresponsible shooters hit anything that moves" said one resident. Some people fear that the croc that took Beryl will attack again.

"All I want to do is catch the killer croc," said one of Beryl's friends. "I don't want to wipe them all out. " Tourist operators, who run croc-spotting cruises in the Daintree River, think that crocs should stay.

"People can live with crocs safely if they use commonsense," said one tour guide. "You just don't go into the water, especially not at night. Poor Beryl broke the rules. You cannot blame the crocodile."

from Mossman Gazette, February, 1986

© Copyright 2000
Marine Education Society of Australasia
Wildlife Preservation Society of Qld 



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